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  • Writer's pictureLinda Odhner, with photos by Liz Kufs

Excerpted Inspirations #73

    I believe that we are created by love and that sooner or later the persuasion of love will draw us up out of our darkness to stand in its exquisite light and see ourselves at last as we really are.  The picture I see is of a seed deep in the earth.  Somewhere, far up above the weight of darkness pressing upon the pitiful little seed, is the drawing and calling of the sun.  It seems an impossible journey toward something that has never been seen and cannot be known, but half unconsciously the blind seed puts out roots to steady itself, pushes an imploring hand upward and starts the struggle.  The poor mad poet Christopher Smart said, "the flower glorifies God and the root parries the adversary."  The struggling plant knows as little about the flower he will presently be as about the God he will glorify, but the flower calls to him too as he pushes up through thick darkness with the adversary clinging to his feet.       The picture of the soul now turns in my mind from that of a plant to a little animal, like a mole, scrabbling with his forepaws to make an upward tunnel, kicking out with his hindlegs at the adversary who tries ceaselessly to drag him back and down.  Often he is dragged down, but he recovers himself and goes on and with each fresh beginning he is a little higher up; and always the pull of the sun is far more powerful than that of the adversary.       He is through at last and stands in the sun, and sometimes in my picture he is a little animal with trembling paws covering his face, and sometimes he is a shivering spike of a flower with a closed bud.  The sun must woo the opened eyes to peep between the chinks of the paws, or persuade the closed petals to open a little way.  It is enough.  A little warmth, a little light, and the creature can know for whom, and for what he was made.  For love, that he may love perfectly, and perfected be useful to the love that has loved him from the beginning and will love him to the end.      But meanwhile, what is he?  It is the judgment.  There is no judgment seat for the sun does not judge him; merely warms him and gives him light.  He is his own judge and strengthened by the warmth he looks at himself in the light.  What has he made of himself in the dark tunnel?  What is he like?  A dirty little animal.  A shaky bit of stalk holding up a crumpled bud that has no beauty in it.  The knowledge is agony, for with blind eyes down in the dark he had thought a good deal of himself, and the agony is both his judgment and his inspiration.  He cannot stand in the light like this.  The paws go out in supplication in my picture, or the petals push away the calyx and take on the shape of praying hands.  Do what you like with me.  Whatever the cost, wash me and make me clean that I may be with you.  Elizabeth Goudge, The Joy of the Snow (1974), pp. 307-309

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